- Title: MEXICO: Funeral is held for Mexican journalist killed at hands of drug hitmen
- Date: 28th May 2009
- Summary: TORREON, COAHUILA, MEXICO (MAY 27, 2009) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF BARRON'S FUNERAL
- Embargoed: 12th June 2009 17:00
- Location: Mexico
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVAES4R39ZK0W5QWFP60YB9B08W3
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: A funeral service was held in Torreon, Coahuila on Wednesday (May 27) for a Mexican crime reporter who was kidnapped and killed by suspected drug hitmen in the northern state of Durango, the second journalist killing this month in an area that has become a new battleground for drug cartels.
Armed, hooded men burst into the home of Eliseo Barron, a police reporter for national daily newspaper Milenio, and abducted him on Monday (May 25) night in the northwestern town of Gomez Palacio. His body was found naked and with bullet wounds in an irrigation ditch on Tuesday (May 26), the state's deputy attorney said.
The newspaper confirmed Barron's killing on its website. It was not clear why he was targeted.
A fight for control of the mountainous state of Durango has killed at least 235 people this year, a jump in violence that poses a new challenge to President Felipe Calderon, who is struggling to contain bloodshed across Mexico.
Officials and analysts say top drug fugitive Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, who has long been battling rivals in other parts of the country, is being attacked in Durango by the Gulf cartel and its brutal "Zetas" armed wing as they fan out from their base in northeastern Mexico, near Texas.
Editorial Milenio Group Director, Carlos Marin, said the only thing journalists could do was to continue working.
"The only thing we should do is reaffirm our trade, to continue working, with the conviction that, hopefully these cowardly criminals understand that information will always flow, information can't stop flowing," he said.
Barron's death follows the killing of another journalist in Durango state, Carlos Ortega, who was shot dead this month as he investigated police corruption.
"This is a deadly wound against journalism on a national scale. What we have just seen is serious because in less than a month we have witnessed the death of two journalists in the state of Durango, which is very serious," said the president of a local journalists' association, Carlos Padilla.
Mexican journalists reporting on drug gangs are often harassed by traffickers but attacks on the media have increased since Calderon launched his army-backed assault on the cartels at the end of 2006.
Since 2006, at least 17 journalists have been killed in Mexico, making it one of the world's most dangerous places for the media, according to a spokesman for the U.S.-based non-profit organization Committee to Protect Journalists.
Across Mexico, drug violence has killed 2,300 people so far this year, on pace with the 6,300 people murdered in all of 2008.
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